Acute Democratitis

Jimmy Morales ponders the disease with no known cure

"These Anglo Democrats wanted reform. They come at municipal politics from the view that it's completely broken, that it's about more than replacing a window. You have to tear down and rebuild the entire house. When they were looking for reform, a former police chief versus an incumbent commissioner?" Which is essentially all the mayoral race came down to. There was little media attention on the often drastic policy differences between the two men, especially Alvarez's pledge to a Christian Coalition offshoot that he'd not only repeal the county's gay rights ordinance, but also any domestic partnership laws. Alvarez even referred to gays and lesbians as people with "sexual problems" during a debate on Telemundo's WSCV-TV.

Unable to cast the race as a true-blue Democrat against a die-hard Republican, Newton concludes of Anglos: "We weren't going to change their minds."

It's an analysis Morales himself shares, citing a poll figure Alex Penelas related to him: Only one-third of likely voters read theHerald -- mostly Anglos.Accordingly, "If you're running in Coral Gables, what the Heraldwrites can be important," he says, adding with a laugh: "But if you're running in Hialeah, when's the last time a candidate the Herald endorsed there won?"

To hear both Newton and Morales lay out the Herald's role in Miami's current political landscape, former New Times staffer DeFede has grown beyond a well-read columnist, now occupying a king-making position among Anglos similar to that held by Radio Mambí's Armando Perez-Roura among Cuban exiles -- able to single-handedly make or break a candidacy.

"The Herald was not fair and balanced," Morales continues. "They went out of their way to expose my weaknesses and didn't really say much about Alvarez. To me the greatest irony of it all is when DeFede wrote a column describing Alvarez as the family man in the race. I've been married with children for fifteen years of my life. Alvarez is twice divorced with a son in jail for rape. He's the family man and I'm not?" (Alvarez's 27-year-old son Carlos, Jr. is serving an eighteen-year prison sentence for a spree of sexual assaults committed in Kendall in 1994.)

"Those were the kind of stories I had to deal with," Morales says. "I just couldn't get a fair shake."

Next week: Revenge is a dish best served at the polls: Jimmy Morales looks toward 2006.

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